Tough day this one. For the past month I've been running flat out, with yesterday being my first day with nothing to do for four weeks. So going into Saturday I was already exhausted, and the timing for the competition was such that I had to get up at 4:45, which isn't even a real time.
The early morning was therefore fairly horrible, with my staggering around the place zombie-like. I finally got out, and made my way through the rain to the bus pick-up. Then a long journey south through heavy rain, thunder, lightning... and then finally some better weather.
We then got ourselves ready to play, and everything was sounding really good. Until we actually started, at which point things went horribly wrong - one slide on one piper's drone slipped at the key moment, which meant it was double-toning throughout the performance. And then, at the end, the pipe major simply forgot to stop. Both of which qualify as "just one of those things", but they did mean we might as well not have bothered.
Shortly thereafter we had the parade, as Annan have wisely combined their competition with their gala day (or "Riding of the Marches" as they call it). The parade was fine, especially as the weather had improved.
And then we rushed to play again, this time in the next grade up. The second performance was a vast improvement over the first, being our best of the season, or so we thought.
About five o'clock, an hour or so before the march past, we decided we couldn't wait. The bus driver was allowed only a 15-hour shift, and having started so early he needed to be back by 9pm, which was already tight. And so, we left.
I checked the results yesterday, and they were not good. Out of 7 bands in the Grade 4 contest, we came seventh. Out of 9 bands in the Grade 3 contest, we came ninth. And we were last in every category across the board.
As far as I can tell, there are two possible explanations: either we genuinely the worst of the worst, in which case we might as well just give up now; or we were disqualified because we left before the march past. Which would be better, except that it hardly seems reasonable - it's not as if we didn't have a really good reason for leaving when we did.
Anyway, never mind. It was a rather better day than some we've had, and we were somewhat happy with at least one performance. There are now five competitions to go, the next of which is the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton on the 25th. I guess we'll see how that goes.
This week's mug: This week I'm using the mug I received while in Ireland. It's a blue "hurling" mug, in that it's marked with the name of a county (Tipperary) and comes with a small ceramic replica of a hurling stick. Alas, while on the way to work today the mug rolled over and the stick broke, so I'll have to fix it with a dab of superglue. (But, fortunately, it was entirely symbolic, so no real harm done.)
It turns out that even this is not the last of the mugs, so there will be at least one more mug anecdote. Huzzah!